No Wonder They Want To Stay In Office

Dear Editor,

With the fight going on over the speaker position, I got kind of curious about who is being paid what for what they do in the House and what I found was, to say the least, amazing.

As of December 2014, the annual salary of each representative is $174,000, the same as it is for each member of the Senate. The speaker of the House and the majority and minority leaders earn more: $223,500 for the speaker and $193,400 for their party leaders (the same as Senate leaders).

House members are eligible for a member’s representational allowance (MRA) to support them in their official and representational duties to their district. The MRA is calculated based on three components: one for personnel, one for official office expenses and one for official or franked mail. The personal allowance is the same for all members; the office and mail allowances vary based on the members’ district’s distance from Washington, D.C., the cost of office space in the member’s district, and the number of non-business addresses in their district. These three components are used to calculate a single MRA that can fund any expense – even though each component is calculated individually, the franking allowance can be used to pay for personnel expenses if the member so chooses. In 2011 this allowance averaged $1.4 million per member and ranged from $1.35 to $1.67 million.

Franking: to print a mark on a stamp so that the stamp cannot be used again, or to print a mark on an envelope to show that the cost of sending it has been paid. Last time I checked, email doesn’t require a stamp.

The personnel allowance was $944,671 per member in 2010. Each member may employ no more than 18 permanent employees. The salary for employees of members salary is capped at $168,411 as of 2009. I’m still looking into whether those numbers have gone up.

These are your tax dollars at work and is probably a strong reason why these “professional politicians” work so hard to stay in office. Who wouldn’t want a job where you really don’t do squat and make all that money.   And try looking up their retirement options. They become eligible to receive benefits after five years of service (two and one-half terms in the House). By comparison a G.I. has to serve 20 years minimum and gets only 50 percent of their base pay.

Think about it you peasants.

Carpe diem.

Alan Marshall